Digital transformation (DX) refers to the integration of digital technology into all areas of businesses to improve operations and deliver more value to customers. Although DX remains mostly a strategy of larger companies, small business leaders are watching developments with an eye toward the future. In 2017, for example, 33% of those polled by the SMB Group (SMBG) expressed some awareness and experience with DX. This year, the number jumped to 56%. Currently, 25% of small- to mid-sized businesses (whom SMBG labels as ‘DX pioneers’) are investing in transformation initiatives, the top three of which include: converged IT infrastructure; the Internet of Things; and artificial intelligence/machine learning. While just one-quarter seems like a small number of pioneers, you can be certain that a much higher percentage of SMB leaders are monitoring DX trends, which this year include improvements to:
1) Office workflow automation–or more specifically, robotic process automation (RPA)–the application of bots to execute menial or repetitive tasks (so humans don’t have to) in areas such as data entry data extraction, order processing and payroll.
2) Mobile interactions. Sixty-percent of companies believe they give customers a quality mobile experience, while only about a third of consumers agree. This disconnect will drive more companies to transform customer service and support through innovation to mobile and other technologies.
3) Cloud services. More than 50% of US small and midsize businesses are accelerating their cloud adoption, according to IT research/analyst firm TechAisle, empowering leaders with greater scalability and flexibility to integrate other fast-emerging DX growth drivers, such as analytics and the Internet of things.